updated 11:25 am EDT, Fri August 20, 2010
Analyst sees BlackBerry losing influence quickly
RIM's BlackBerry phones could start losing market share much quicker than expected, Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum warned on Friday. He downgraded the smartphone maker's stock to "underweight" as he expected BlackBerry share to bleed down to 13.1 percent and not a previously thought 16 percent; RIM has 18.2 percent share today.
Gelblum pointed to modest sales of the Torch as a sign that a flagship BlackBerry no longer caught the public's interest, but he saw outside competitors as larger threats. Android has undermined some of RIM's share, he said. An increasing number of companies are either moving to other platforms or letting workers choose their own smartphones, which in many cases leads them to choose an iPhone or Android device over a BlackBerry.
Possible service bans in India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries could also have a direct impact as users could feel pressured into switching platforms to get full services.
A drop of the sort would have Apple and possibly Google overtake RIM within the next two years, pushing it down to third or fourth place. A purely product-based recovery isn't visible in the near future as both the Torch and upcoming leaked BlackBerries are considered only very mild updates where the iPhone 4, as well as most HTC and Motorola devices, have been major revisions of phones a year old or less.